What Happens If You Don't Change Your Mortgage to Your Married Name?

by Jeannine Mancini
Minor children cannot legally own real estate in their own name.

According to Oprah.com, 80 percent of women change their names after marriage. However, you are not legally required to change your name on the mortgage after you get married, even though in the future things could get a little complicated if you do not. All of your creditors want to know if you legally change your name.

Ownership

Since you acquired the property before the marriage, it is classified as separate property rather than marital property. Your spouse would not have any legal rights to the home in the event of a divorce. If you choose not to add your spouse to the deed, he may not have rights to the property if he survives you. By adding your spouse to the mortgage, you will both be liable for making mortgage payments. If you want your spouse to have ownership interest in the home, you must add him to the deed. You can use a quit claim deed to grant ownership to your spouse. The lender will generally want you to refinance to add his name. Although credit does not co-mingle when a couple marries, your spouse's credit score can impact the interest rate you receive when you refinance.

Homeowners Insurance

If you legally changed your name, you could face trouble obtaining a new homeowners insurance policy with a different name than that on your mortgage. The insurance company may need extra documentation to prove you are the property owner.

Refinancing or Selling

If you want to refinance, problems could arise if your mortgage documents do not reflect your new name. According to the Daily Finance, couples sometimes run into delays when refinancing if the new married name is not on the original mortgage documents. It will not affect your ability to refinance, but you will likely need to take extra steps to clear things up and prove you are the same person on the mortgage. If you choose not to update your mortgage and want to sell the home, prepare to present a copy of your marriage license to prove you are the person named on the deed.

Tips

When changing your name, Bankrate.com recommends altering the Social Security Administration first to make it official. If you do not make the change before you file your first tax return with the new married name, the name and ID number on your 1040 will not match the records associated with your Social Security number. Next, visit your local department of motor vehicles to obtain a new driver's license. Once you have your new license and Social Security card, you can update your mortgage.

About the Author

Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.

Photo Credits

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